Absent much stronger U.S. and European pressure on their Saudi allies, Yemen’s latest ceasefire threatens to collapse — which could mean a return to massive civilian bombardments.
In the past, the Islamic State’s uber-violent videos may have been part of a recruiting scheme, but their purpose has become more focused.
Spurred on by the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians each month this year, and by persistent complains about the government’s poor performance and rising authoritarianism, Iraqi demonstrators are now taking matters into their own hands. With ever louder chants of effective governance from certain sectors of the country, what Iraq may be going through is its own version of the Arab Spring movement—smaller and less universal, but equally empowering to those who are in the middle of it.
Indonesia’s Shi’a minority is under heavy attack. Men, women, and children have been assaulted, schools damaged, and villages burned to the ground. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia’s intolerant brand of Wahabbi Sunni Islam—propagated far and wide by Saudi oil money—is behind most of assaults.
“Blood and destruction,” “dreadful objects,” and “pity choked” was the Bard’s searing characterization of what war visits upon the living. It is a description that increasingly parallels the ongoing war in Syria, which is likely to worsen unless the protagonists step back and search for a diplomatic solution to the 17-month-old civil war.
Almost 18 months after the onset of popular democratic protests, the Syrian revolution increasingly resembles a bloody marathon with no clear finish line on the horizon. But as Syrian society slowly disintegrates, non-aligned states from the developing world may show the way forward to a diplomatic resolution.
In the most violent day in Iraq since the United States pulled out its remaining troops last December, a series of well-thought-out and coordinated terrorist strikes across the country killed approximately 80 Iraqis last Wednesday. As is usually the case in Iraq, members of the Shia community constituted most of the casualties, with some of the most powerfully built bombs detonated in neighborhoods jammed packed with Shia worshipers making their way to northern Baghdad on a religious commemoration ceremony.
The destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 created a power vacuum in the center of the Middle East. Nearly a decade of sectarian warfare and chaos ensued as militants from various communities fought mercilessly for control of Iraq. Ethnic, tribal, and religious divisions proved to be stronger than any unifying national Iraqi identity after the Ba’athist regime collapsed. Ultimately, the Shiites, who comprise 60-65 percent of Iraq’s population, won control of the state.
It was an ordinary early morning in Baghdad in February 2012. Mothers and fathers were stuck in the grueling traffic of the capital, on their way to work. Their children were all packed up and ready to go to school. Shops were opening up in Baghdad’s market, hoping to profit from the morning rush hour. Then, at a moment’s notice, Iraqis in Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities found themselves in the middle of a coordinated series of terrorist attacks.
While politicians in Washington argue over the future of Iraq, half a world away a bloody battle for the soul of Iraq is being fought by Iraqis who are paying a high price for the U.S. occupation.